INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON CUPCAKES:
1 ½ cups cake flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs ½ cup whole milk ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon lemon zest ¼ cup lemon juice
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
½ cup unsalted butter softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE CUPCAKES:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes, or until creamed.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
Slowly mix in half of the dry ingredients, half of the milk, and the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice; mix until well-combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and milk. Mix until fully combined and no lumps are visible.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until about ⅔ full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
FOR THE FROSTING:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until well blended and no clumps remain.
Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla and beat until creamy.
Pipe onto cupcakes using a knife or your favorite frosting tip (we used tip 1C). Garnish with a slice of lemon, if desired.
Cake flour substitute: Measure out 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, then remove 3 tablespoons of flour from your measurement. Replace with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, whisk together, then sift.
Prep ahead: Baked cupcakes can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to frost and serve.
Storage: Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.